The European Landscape Convention is urging the various European societies to define their landscape quality objectives. As a meeting point for the aspirations of the general public, the opinions of experts and public policies in relation to landscape, landscape quality objectives are a way of shaping, in a reliable form and following a thorough process of public consultation and participation, the final goal which a society has set itself in terms of landscape improvement. This was one of the most significant conclusions of the 5th Meeting of Workshops for the implementation of the European Landscape Convention, organised in Girona in September 2006 by the Council of Europe, under the title “Landscape quality objectives: from theory to practice”.
Landscape quality objectives are a response to the question, so simple and so complex at the same time, “What kind of landscape do we want?” As one of the basic pillars of the European Landscape Convention and, consequently, of the Act for the Protection, Planning and Management of the Landscape of Catalonia, the landscape quality objectives become a key point of reference for spatial and sectoral policies, entities and society in general, so as to continue advancing towards being a country with better landscapes wich have a positive influence on the quality of life of the population.
Landscape quality objectives have, therefore, a strategic position and are instrumental in advancing towards a new culture of land management and planning which requires a great deal of landscape sensitivity from all the agents who take part in it and from society in general.
In addition to their impact on the planning tools themselves, whether spatial, urban or sectoral, landscape quality objectives also have a function in increasing public awareness of the landscape. These landscape quality objectives need to act as a guide and framework of reference not only for the Administration, at whatever level, but also for the public in general, both in the ambit of civil society as it is normally understood and for individuals.
The landscape catalogues of Catalonia prepared by the Landscape Observatory are the principal instruments envisaged in the Landscape Act for the definition of landscape quality objectives in Catalonia. In the landscape catalogues, landscape quality objectives are prepared from the attributes, values and challenges identified in Catalan landscapes, after gathering opinions from the general public and the principal social and economic agents present in each area. The objectives are formulated for each of the seven territorial areas of Catalonia and for each landscape unit identified in the catalogues themselves. A landscape unit is understood to mean the parts of the territory which have the same landscape character and, therefore, are individually differentiated from the rest.
From the long and varied list of landscape quality objectives defined in the landscape catalogues, both for the seven regions and for each landscape unit, ten stand out which refer to aspects common to almost all of Catalonia: these are the landscape quality objectives for Catalonia. The list of these ten landscape quality objectives completes the structure of the landscape catalogues, as can be seen in the following figure:
|Catalonia||Territorial Ambit||Landscape Unit|
|Landscape Quality Objectives for Catalonia||Landscape quality objectives||Landscape quality objectives|
|Criteria and actions||Criteria and actions|
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